BDG wrote:Crittenton Gets Time To Shineby BDG - January 5th, 2008
Maybe it was getting blown out by the relevant-again Boston Celtics. Maybe it was getting beaten down while wearing short shorts. Whatever it was, the Los Angeles Lakers came into Friday night’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers with a purpose.
The team suited up down 3 players
— Vladimir Radmanovic and Sasha Vujacic sat with sprained ankles, while Lamar Odom was banned from STAPLES Center via a one-games suspension for tackling Boston’s Ray Allen.
Nevertheless, the Lakers did something that they have had trouble with in recent seasons. They didn’t just keep Philly out of the game — they stepped on their throats, pushing the lead to 38 at one point. While partial credit is due to a lack of effort
on the opposition’s part, this was accomplished through a dismantling of the Sixers’ poor interior defense.
An encouraging sign, even in a victory against lesser competition. What arguably was more encouraging was seeing seven Lakers in double-figures in the box score.
The leader in that column? None other than rookie Javaris Crittenton, who finished with a career-high 19 points.
As a victim of a deep, playoff-bound squad, Crittenton’s playing time has been sporadic at best. Prior to this contest only twice had he registered double figures in minutes.
While many have engaged in debate
over who is the Lakers’ point guard of the future between Crittenton and Laker sophomore Jordan Farmar, it’s clear that great potential is there for both.
Filling in at Vujacic’s role of backup shooting guard behind Kobe Bryant, Crittenton displayed what he can often bring to a team when given playing time.
His greatest skill, at the moment, is his penchant for breaking the defense down
with off-the-dribble penetration. Crittenton got himself to the line, scored on a few spectacular layups and most importantly, created easy scoring opportunities for his teammates.
In one instance Crittenton delivered a dazzling no-look dish
in the paint to Kwame Brown.
Either it was right on the money or Brown had superglue on his hands, because he actually caught the thing
. And he finished.
Perhaps Javaris may have made an impression on Phil Jackson and the rest of the Laker coaching staff, but he likely will be relegated to the bench yet again when Sasha makes his return.
Nevertheless, while Philadelphia hardly put up a challenge defensively, the game served as a preview of Crittenton’s natural abilities at the NBA level. The athleticism he possesses simply can’t be taught. Neither can his intuitive feel for the game.
Having just turned 20
on New Year’s Eve, Javaris not only has a bright future, but plenty of time to mature as a basketball player, soaking up the knowledge of the league’s best wingman in Kobe Bryant and an experienced coaching staff.
Should Javaris receive some of Sasha’s minutes? Ask Phil
Until then, Jackson may roll with the relative veteran. Although the future can always change.